For years, we’ve been seeing mala beads used as fashion accessories, but in addition to being a pretty necklace, mala beads can amplify your meditation practice, be a constant reminder of your goals, and even help you achieve them faster.
Regular meditation is something I’ve always wanted to be better at, but struggle creating the consistent routine. Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, calms the mind, and helps with focus, patience, and problem-solving for the rest of the day. It’s been shown to strengthen the immune system, reduce depression, be more energizing than a power-nap, and balances the chakras (if you’re into that.)
With four kids and constant daily demands, meditation is key for me to keep a clear head when the days get long and overwhelming.
The truth is, that sometimes it’s hard to create the regular schedule and find time to sneak away for a few minutes of silence. In those cases, I love how wearing mala beads remind me of my goals, my mantra, and helps me refocus no matter how chaotic my day turns out to be.
While you can buy pre-made mala beads, I love the process of making them yourself. Each bead is said to hold unique strengths and properties so why not craft one that is made just for you and your goals?
Why Does A Mala Have 108 Beads?
- There are said to be 108 energy lines or Qi that meet to form the heart chakra
- There are 108 Hindu Scriptures in the ancient text of the Vedas.
- The numbers in 108 have their own spiritual meanings. 1 for a god or higher truth, 0 for completeness in spiritual practice or enlightenment, and 8 for infinity.
- There are said to be 108 feelings in humans. 36 related to the past, 36 to the present, and 36 to the future.
- In astrology, there are 12 zodiac houses and nine planets, which multiplied equal 108
Picking Your Stones
In creating your custom Mala, each stone or color combination is said to posses different qualities that amplify or heal your energy, help attract certain outcomes, and have different affects. Since you are creating your own Mala Beads, choose stones that resonate with you.
I’ve been so impressed by the quality and price of beads on Amazon. If crystal beads are hard to find near you (or you just love the convenience of Amazon,) here are a few supplies to get you started:
In addition to 104 crystal beads, you’ll also need a package of seed beads, 4 large marker beads, a tassel, 1 guru bead (a large bead at the end) and some strong thread to hold it all together.
Traditional Mala Beads have knots dividing each stone but can be time-consuming and tricky to create. So instead, we’ll be using seed beads as perfectly-sized little spacers.
While a bead board can be helpful for projects like this, you can also manage just fine using a plate and saucers to divide and organize your beads. Lay out your beads so you know what order you’d like to string them and begin on one side to work your way around, leaving the guru bead until the end and using seed beads as spacers on either side of each stone.
I chose to make my Mala in the traditional Zen Style Pattern but choose what works best for you. I used Lava Rock Stones as marker beads before continuing on to the next section. During meditation, use the marker beads to refocus if your mind has wandered and take a quick note of where you are in your practice.
Once you are done stringing your beads, put both ends of string together through your final Guru bead. This creates a more finished look and is easy to feel as a stopping point while you are meditating. I bought a pre-made tassel with an attached quartz stone to finish off my necklace and tied it to the end.
How To Use Your Mala Beads
Now that your beads are made, you can fully set an intention and begin to use them.
Traditionally, a monk blesses Mala Beads to be cleansed of past energies and ready for use, but you can use smoke from Palo Santo Wood or A Sage Smudge Stick to bless them yourself. Smoke from these ancient tools have been used for thousands of years to cleanse, purify, and extract negative energies.
To use your new Mala, sit in a quiet meditation holding your Mala in your right hand. Place your index finger and thumb on the bead next to your guru bead and recite your mantra (in your head is fine), breathe in through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds, and exhale for 7 seconds through your mouth before sliding your finger to the next bead and beginning again until you have circled your Mala and are back at the beginning.
Your mantra can be anything. Some prefer to use ancient scripts in other languages, some like simple ones, long ones, it’s really up to you. Here is a great post by the Mala Collective on how to choose a mantra.
I hope this little post helped to demystify Mala Beads and help encourage your mediation practice. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below!